COVID-19 and Other Prevalent Diseases in Africa: A Pragmatic Approach

Published: Sep 19, 2021
Africa COVID-19 diseases pandemics Pragmatism
Cyril Emeka Ejike
The aim of this paper is to propose that the development and legitimization of African knowledge and validation systems on a pragmatic basis, is an efficient and effective means of responding to a myriad of health problems plaguing Africans, particularly the COVID-19 pandemic. Whenever there is a novel disease outbreak, the norm is to wait for the development of scientifically proven vaccines for its treatment. However, the scientific validation of drugs is a rigorous and lengthy process, thereby inappropriate for dealing with health emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak. The alarming rapidity with which the novel COVID-19 pandemic rages globally and decimates humanity has brought to the fore the need for Africa to look inwards in search of viable and efficient alternative approaches to the pandemic. In this paper, I examine pragmatism as a theoretical framework and relate it to proposed African epistemic and validation frameworks with a particular reference to homegrown orthodox and alternative/complementary medicines. I argue that the validation and approval of any knowledge claim based on pragmatism is a more expeditious mode of attending to COVID-19 and other prevalent diseases in Africa. The application of knowledge that brings practical success in dealing with health challenges in Africa without necessarily following rigid and lengthy scientific validation procedures will go a long way toward improving human conditions and well-being. I conclude that pragmatic considerations should ultimately inform local approval to homegrown African medicines for use in Africa.
Article Details
  • Section
  • Articles
Download data is not yet available.
Author Biography
Cyril Emeka Ejike, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics of Aristotle, 10th ed. Translated by F. H. Peters. London: Keegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1906.
Baldwin, James M., ed. Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, vol. 2. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1902.
Benson, Nneoma. “275 Dead: UK Report on AstraZeneca Vaccine Sends Message of Caution to Nigeria, Others.” The Whistle, March 16, 2021.
Bewaji, John A. I. An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge: A Pluricultural Approach. Ibadan: Hope Publications, 2007.
Busari, Stephanie, and Bukola Adebayo. “Nigeria Records Chloroquine Poisoning after Trump Endorses it for Coronavirus Treatment.” CNN, March 23, 2020.
Eboh, Ben O. Basic Issues in Theory of Knowledge. Nsukka: UNN, 1990.
Eboh, Ben O. Living Issues in Ethics. Nsukka: Afro-Orbis Publishing Co. Ltd, 2005.
Ejike, Cyril E. “COVID-19 and African Traditional Medicines.” In COVID-19 and Afrocentric Perspectives: Health and Economic Implications, edited by Ikechukwu Anthony Kanu, Chiugo C. Kanu, and Ejikemeuwa J. O. Ndubisi, 1-16. Maryland: The Association for the Promotion of African Studies, 2021.
Hafner, Marco, Erez Yerushalmi, Clement Fays, Eliane Dufresne, and Christian van Stolk. COVID-19 and the Cost of Vaccine Nationalism. Santa Monica, California, and Cambridge, UK: Rand Corporation, 2020.
Harrison-Barbet, Anthony. Mastering Philosophy. London: Macmillan Education, 1990.
Ikhioya, Sunny. “The Master-Slave Syndrome.” Vanguard Nigeria, May 27, 2020.
James, William. Pragmatism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975.
Kirkham, Richard L. Theories of Truth. A Critical Introduction. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1992.
Knight, Barry. Rethinking Poverty: What Makes a Good Society? Bristol: Policy Press, 2017.
Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Medical Express. “Five Things to Know about the AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccine.” Medical Express, March 11, 2021.
Misak, Cheryl. Truth, Politics, Morality: Pragmatism and Deliberation. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.
Muthuswamy, Vasantha. “Ethical Issues in Clinical Research,” Perspectives in Clinical Research 4, no. 1 (2013): 9.13.
Ngcobo, Mlungisi, Nceba Gqalieni, Vinny Naidoo, and Protus Cele. “The Immune Effects of an African Traditional Energy Tonic In Vitro and In Vivo Models,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 6310967 (2017): 1-14.
Ogundipe, Sola. “How COVID-19 Rediscovered Nigeria’s Health Care System.” Vanguard Nigeria, May 29, 2020.
Ojeih, Paul O. “Coronavirus Pandemic: The Curative and Politics.” PM News, May 5, 2020.
Ome, Emmanuel M., and William Amam. Philosophy and Logic for Everybody. Enugu: Institute for Development Studies, 2004.
Omoregbe, Joseph I. Ethics: A Systematic and Historical Study. Lagos: Joja Educational Research and Publishers Limited, 1993.
Onuoha, Chris. “COVID-19: Iwu Restates Efficacy of Herbal Medicine.” Vanguard Nigeria, January 10, 2021.
Peirce, Charles S. “How to Make Our Ideas Clear.” Popular Science Monthly 12 (1878): 286-302.
Peschke, Karl-Heinz. Christian Ethics, 3rd ed., vol. 1. Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012.
Premium Times. “Who Fears ‘Silent’ Virus Epidemic unless Africa Prioritises Testing.” May 26, 2020.
Salem, Tordue. “COVID 19: Ignore WHO, Go for Local Cures, Reps Tell FG.” Vanguard Nigeria, May 13, 2020.
Schmitt, Frederick F. “Truth: An Introduction.” In Theories of Truth, edited by Frederick F. Schmitt, 1-38. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003.
Schmitz, Rob. “Why Germany’s Coronavirus Death Rate Is Far Lower Than in Other Countries.” NPR, March 25, 2020.
Serebro, Danielle. “COVID-19 Vaccine Financing and Purchasing in Africa: Wherefrom the Money?” CABRI, February 19, 2021.
Sobowale, Rasheed. “EWU on COVID-19, SARS, Ebola: Inside Catholic Research Centre where Monks Cure with Herbs.” Vanguard Nigeria, May 17, 2020.
Sobowale, Rasheed. “Why WHO Suspended Chloroquine Clinical Trial for COVID-19 Treatment.” Vanguard Nigeria, May 29, 2020.
Soludo, Charles C. “Can Africa Afford COVID-19 Lockdowns?” Proshare, April 24, 2020.
Stumpf, Samuel E., and James Fieser. Philosophy: History and Problems, 6th edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Indicators and Indices: 2018 Statistical Update Team. New York: United Nations Development Programme, 2018.
Vangard Nigeria. “How COVID-19 Can Help Nigeria Rethink Education Policy – AACS.” May 27, 2020.
Vanguard Nigeria. “Five Things to Know about the AstraZeneca/Oxford Vaccine.” March 11, 2020.
Vanguard Nigeria. “UK Says Confident in COVID-19 Vaccines as S. Africa Pauses AstraZeneca Rollout.” February 8, 2021.
Wouters, Olivers J., Kenneth C. Shalden, Maximilian Salcher-Konrad, Andrew J. Pollard, Heidi J. Larson, Yot Teerwattananon, and Mark Jit. “Challenges in Ensuring Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccines: Production, Affordability, Allocation, and Deployment.” Health Policy 397, no. 10278 (2021): 1023-1034.
Wu, Joseph, H., Stephen D. John, and Eli Y. Adashi. “Allocating Vaccines in a Pandemic: The Ethical Dimension.” The American Journal of Medicine 133, no. 11 (2020): 1241-1242.